Mount Rainier National Park - Historical Perspective

From Famous Conservationist, John Muir:  "If in the making of the West, Nature had what we
call parks in mind, —places for rest, inspiration, and prayers, —this Rainier region must surely be
one of them."   John Muir, Our National Parks (1901), page 30.












 Mt. Rainier, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, circa 1925.

On March 2, 1899, President William McKinley signed legislation creating Mount Rainier National
Park in central Washington. The 365-square-mile area of pristine forests and spectacular alpine
scenery was the fourth national park designated by Congress after Yellowstone, Yosemite &
Sequoia.

Called Tacoma (or Tahoma) by generations of Northwest Native Americans, Mount Rainier was
named after Admiral Peter Rainier in 1792 by English explorer George Vancouver, who sighted
the enormous 14,410-foot volcanic peak while exploring Puget Sound.

Nearly a century later, famed naturalist John Muir visited the Rainier region and later
recommended that it be designated as a national park.  Muir was impressed with the magnificent
wildflowers that blanket the mountain during the warm months of the year.   In his 1898 essay
"The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West," reprinted in his 1901 book Our National
Parks, Muir wrote:  

    "…above the forests there is a zone of the loveliest flowers, fifty
    miles in circuit and nearly two miles wide, so closely planted and
    luxuriant that it seems as if Nature, glad to make an open space
    between woods so dense and ice so deep, were economizing the
    precious ground, and trying to see how many of her darlings she
    can get together in one mountain wreath, —daisies, anemones,
    geraniums, columbines, erythroniums, larkspurs, etc., among
    which we wade knee-deep and waist-deep, the bright corollas in
    myriads touching petal to petal. "

    That is quite a statement towards the historical beauty of Mount
    Rainier.
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